Easier said than done, right? Wrong. There’s actually a ridiculously simple, but little known, way to save money on most online purchases: start them at a cash-rebate site.
It works like this: Suppose you’re planning to order one of HP’s spiffy Pavilion dm1z laptops. The base configuration starts at $399.99, and because it’s a brand new model (well, newly refreshed, anyway), there are no deals to be found online.
In about 90 days, you’ll get back a percentage of your purchase. It might be 8 percent, or 5 percent, or even just 2.5 percent (the amount varies from store to store and rebate site to rebate site), but it’s still money back.
And think about it: if you save 5 percent on a $400 purchase, that’s $20. If you’re buying 10 new laptops, that’s $200. All for just a few extra clicks when you start your online shopping trip. Kind of a no-brainer, right?
Of course, I haven’t told you the catch yet. That’s because I haven’t really found one. I recently used Ebates to order the aforementioned Pavilion dm1z, and everything worked like a charm. I was even able to use a promo code to get a discount on the laptop (which, granted, lowered my rebate a bit, but I still came out way ahead).
Indeed, I’ve become something of a cash-back convert. Although it takes a few months to get your rebates (which, depending on the site, can come in the form of PayPal or an honest-to-goodness check in the mail), the percentage points do add up. My take: why not use one?